Interview I Transcript

Key – J: Jessica; K: Kianny

J: Could you please tell me your name and where you are from?

K: My name is Kianny Antigua and I am from San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic.

K: Can you hear that?

J: Yeah, it picked it up.

K: Helloooooo [laughs]

J: And what year were you born?

K: What year? Ahh, 1979. February 15, 1979.

 J: What was life like in the Dominican Republic before you came to the United States?

K: I thought it was awesome. Haha. I lived with my grandmother and many cousins. And I liked school, so I loved going to school. And I loved playing sports. I played many, many, many sports. Uh.. I practiced karate, gymnastics. Volleyball, basketball.. Uh, what else? I did more. Haha. Uhh, ballet. Everything. I remember my mom would ask me: Ok, do you want to learn English or play volleyball? Play volleyball! Do you want to learn how to type or do gymnastics? Gymnastics! I would always go to the sports. So I had a good.. great childhood.

J: Do you have any siblings? Or did you grow up with your cousins?

K: I have half-sisters and brothers. Uh. But I am the only child from mom and dad.

J: What were the circumstances that prompted your decision to migrate to the United States?

K: To begin with, it wasn’t my decision. It was my mom’s decision. She came to the United States, to Puerto Rico when I was 9. And it took her.. She came illegally. En yola. Do you know what yola is? It’s a boat. From the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico.. Do you see that picture? It talks about it in one of the book.

J: Oh, I watched an interview. I was looking for stuff about you online and there was an interview done by Yola Yelou.

K: Yes. Well.. but.. its all related. This is the cover of the book and it has a yola on top in the hair. Do you see it? The yellow thing.

J: Mhmm.

K: So basically she came. She did her papers and she did mine too. And then, right before finishing high school.. I finished high school over there.. She just gave me my green card. And what do you do with it? [Laughs] You just go.

J: So how old were you? Like 17 or 18 when you came?

K: Yes. Well, I traveled since I was 15. So I went to Puerto Rico, came here. Went to Canada. Finished high school and then ok, now, now what? That’s how I came. That’s why I’m here. I think. [Laughs]

J: What was the trip like?

K: Umm..  Still now there is the feeling of loss. Huge, humungous feeling of loss that you cannot express with words or therapy or none of that. Everything that you know, everything that you are is left behind. And you do not know why you are leaving, you don’t know where you’re going. It wasn’t like my mom that made the decision to leave. It was.. you cannot study here, there is no money, I cannot pay for school here. And it was, I don’t know, you have to come because here are the papers. I remember that.. after I got my green card.. they give you 3 months to fly. And I kept postponing it. Like, when do I buy the ticker? Oh, I’ll buy it next week. I’ll buy it.. And then I came a couple of days before the 3 months expired. I was young and of course I wanted to explore, but… I don’t know. The change was brutal. Brutal. [in Spanish] Brutal.

J: Do you go back often?

K: I do. I do. And also, a lot of my family that were there at the time, now live here. So even, sometimes, going to New York is good enough.

J/K: [Laughs]

K: Its like going back. But I do, we do go every year. At least once… And now, that’s the other problem: where is home? There or here? I lived there 17 years and this year, I have been here 17 years. So [laughs] its very interesting.

J: Have you found a way to negotiate the feeling of belonging/home?

K: Umm [ponders] yes. But in a subconscious way not by deciding: ok, I’m going to be more Dominican now that I’m here. Or I’m going to be American because I live here. Things just happen. Like, I fell in love with literature and so I studied Spanish. That connected me more with my language. I began reading when I had the time, because in college you have to read whatever they give you. But when I had time I began reading my friends, people that I knew, names that I’ve heard from the Dominican Republic and I got closer, reading the literature. Not the history. [laughs] Literature. Creative writing. I think that’s the way that I found more pleasant to connect. And also visiting.

J: What were your first impressions of the United States like?

K: Everything was grey. [laughs] I had a lot of energy. You saw my daughter, she got it from somewhere.

J: [laughs]

K: I came here and my mom was in Puerto Rico. I didn’t like Puerto Rico. So I came here to live with my aunt in the Bronx. She had a 1-bedroom apartment. She was married and she had 3 kids. So.. we usually.. we always laughed about it. We made jokes: where did you sleep? Oh, the stove, you know. You turn it on when its winter and you turn it off when its summer. But no, literally, they would close the door and the living room would become a bedroom. And since that was taken already, I had my little.. what is it? What was it? Un colchon…

J: mattress.

K: Mattress. It was a tiny mattress and it was right at the door. Like in the little hallway, at the door. So I heard everybody that came drunk. I would know. I kept tabs on everybody in the building. I had to be the last one to go to sleep and the first one to wake up. And it was like that for a while. Until I began working, save some money and moved to another bedroom. [Laughs] to somebody else’s bedroom. It was tough. But I never saw it as tough. I saw it as ‘you had to do it.’ Now that I don’t have to do it: Its like, wow! How did I do it?

J/K: [laughter]

K: But one thing I was clear, absolutely clear. Is that, I wanted to study. So I think that knowing what I wanted helped a lot.

J: It kept you going.

K: Mhm. Because if not, I would’ve been working 70 hours in a supermarket. That’s what I began doing. But everyday I was like: I can’t. This is not.. I have to study. I like to study, that’s the thing. So I remember going to a tiny school, English school, a couple of blocks away from the supermarket that I worked at. And after working 10 hours, then I would go to the English class. And I remember this teacher. He was crazy. How do you say? Como se dice yo soy? And he would say: el verbo amar en cibaeño (from the Cibao, which how is called the North part of the island, of the Dominican Republic) : who am I? am I? Who am I? He was funny. I got something from him. I remember that.

J: Ho did you feel about the English language when you came?

K: Well, I never liked English in my high school. [Laughs] I would rather do anything else. And I paid for that. I paid for that here when I came. I don’t know. I don’t think I am very skilled when it comes to language. I think I have to speak it because I live here. But, I had to learn.

J: Did it take you a while?

K: Its taking me a while [laughs] what are you talking about? When I filled out the application to go to college, I didn’t know how to write college. And all the classes that I took I remember they were.. what was the name? Remedial? No, not remedial classes. Bilingual, some sort of program: some in Spanish, some in English. All the ESLs. I took all the ESLs.

J: Yeah, I was in ESL too.

K: All the ESLs. But I was proud. At the end of my Associate’s and still now, one of the things that I’m most proud of is that even though I had to take all the ESLs, I ended up taking Honors English. A lot of my fellows didn’t even know they were in honors, English Honors. That was interesting. Yeah, I liked that. [Laughs] To think about it.

J: Did you face any difficulties because of the language?

K: Any?!? [Laughs]

J: You know [laughs]

K: Come on.. Ok, this is not a difficulty but this is a reality. I was in the train and then this guy started talking to me and I was so ashamed. I didn’t know what he was saying. That, I left.. I got out of the train and waited for the other one. That kind of difficulty? [laughs] I did that many times, by the way. When the smile and the “mhm” doesn’t work…

J/K: [laughter]

K: You just leave the train and wait for the next one. Hmm. Oh my god. But in that moment you don’t realize it. Its 3 years after, “Oh that guys” [Laughs] “That’s what he meant.”.. I always say that I was and I am very lucky because even though, yes I did work for the things that I wanted. But other people also do that and they don’t get it. So I was lucky that I got it. That I wanted to go to school and I went to school. That I wanted to work at a bank and I worked at a bank, even though I hated it after that. But, what can I say? I was very blessed. Going to school saved me in many, many ways. First, I love the challenge and I love learning. Then I found some mentors, some people that just became more than teachers, and more than mentors, and more than friends. Still now, they are my guide. My light. And I think that was very important and it determined a lot of the things.. it determined not my personality, but my good luck, in a way.

J: what do you think about the education children receive in this country?

K: Oh god… I always said.. I always knew that I wanted to have children but living in New York, studying in New York, and teaching in New York: I began saying, ‘I don’t want to have children in New York.’ Because I never wanted my kids to go through the school system in New York. Now here, it’s a little different. But that’s not the story, that’s not what the question is about.. There are some things that I find ridiculous. Like, No Child Left Behind.. I have a student right now, that he is repeating the class because he’s young and he’s  not allowed into high school. The poor kid, he’s brilliant! But, he’s stuck. And, he’s repeating. Are you kidding me!? [laughs] I do not understand that. If you deserve to be in, I don’t care what grade, that’s where you should be. Because of your academics.. Its one of the little things that I see.

J: You said that education saved you, so what role has that played in your life?

K: Besides family, probably the most important one because when you are 17,18,19 and you live alone in New York City and you’re not from this country, and you’re learning the language and the culture. You work so much for no money. Education was the only thing. Knowing that what I was getting, nobody could take from me. Regardless of the career or what happened after, at that moment, in that classroom: I was the queen. I was the King. And, as I said before, I met people that recommended that I apply for this and for that, and then getting scholarships, traveling around, getting free money [laughs] you know, for grants! Oh that was fantastic. That was a booster. So, that’s what I mean. And also through education was how I found literature and creative writing and that is a lot of what I am now. I depend on writing. Some days. [laughs]

J: Can you speak on.. I’m not sure if there would be just one, but the greatest challenge has been since you came to the States?

K: I don’t think there has been one great challenge. I think there are little challenges or challenges all the time. Lets put it like that, because they are not little. One thing that I think has helped a lot is the fact that I am very organized. And my goals are not.. Even though I am a writer, but I am not a romantic writer.. My goals are not like ‘Let me touch the sky’ or ‘Oh, look at the star.. I’m going to travel to China.’ [laughs] Usually its something tangible, something that I can go for. Ok, let me do 2 years in college and then I’ll take a year off. And then ok, let me do 2 more. And then, you know, things that I can almost touch or that I know that I can work for. So that’s why I don’t think its like a huge challenge, its just things that I can work for. And of course there are challenges, I mean, even the train left me today. Or um, my mom needs money or my grandmother is sick and I cannot go and see her. Or, my freaking boyfriend is destroying my life, so I’m depressed and I cannot do the things that I want to do. Those are challenges, huge challenges and most of them are not necessarily physical and you have to deal with those every day and just keep going.

J: Can you tell me about your greatest achievement?

K: I will touch on that question the same way I did with the one before. Its not one big thing but a combination of little things. My first graduation, when I got the Associate’s. Woohoo! At the moment that was the best thing ever. But also the $2 raise that I got at my job, you know. Those little things that you keep adding and adding. And then the next graduation and the scholarship and my first book. But then now, my fourth book. It’s the same feeling. It’s the same great achievement.

K: [pause] I take.. everything that happens to me.. I take it as a gift. I remember talking to a friend and he asked ‘How are you?’ and I said, ‘Oh I’m so happy because I just wrote a poem.’ And he said,’ That’s what you do. You’re a writer. You know. You’re supposed to write.’ And I said, ‘Uhm, No.’ [laughs] I am happy because this is a gift. And when I don’t write, I’m fine. And when I write, I’m happy. You know. I cannot force myself to be a writer, either it happens or it doesn’t happen. So, all of those things are achievements and they make you happy. And my family is a huge achievement. This mess [points to daughter’s toys] is not an achievement. But, my family. My daughter. I mean, come on. And that pregnancy was a challenge. Having her was an achievement.

J: Keeping with your role as a writer, how did you discover your gift for writing?

K: By cheating! Literally. [laughs] I was taking Business Administration when I as doing my Associate’s. Why? Because I didn’t have to take Biology.

J: [laughs] I would’ve probably done that too.

K: No, but that’s not the cheating part, hold on. So while doing my Associate’s I heard ‘Do you know that if you take Spanish class, [because you speak Spanish] and you don’t need it, they give you up to 9 credits?’ And I was like ‘Oh my god, I’m gonna do that! Lets do it!’ .. I didn’t even know you could take Spanish. I was so immersed in learning English that I had no idea that you could take classes in Spanish. Or that there was such as thing as a career in Spanish, or teaching Spanish as a career. Seriously! I didn’t know. So I went to the department and they said ‘you have to take an exam’ and I said ‘Okay, give me the exam.’ They gave me the exam, but they left me alone [laughs] So.. I still have the dictionary.. I had this tiny dictionary with me.. Ok, its like half cheating because I did everything that I had to do but I just reviewed with the dictionary.

J/K: [laughs]

K: Like ‘is this with B or V. um, is this with C or S.’ So [laughs] you know, one of those grammar things.. Guess what? I ended up in  [laughs] I ended up in Literature! I didn’t have to go to grammar classes, even though I didn’t know how to put an accent.

J: Oh no! I still cant do it

K: Ah, ok, we need to talk about that later

J: [laughs]

K: Anyway, that I say with pride. Not because I’m proud of cheating [laughs] but because if that did not happen? would not happen? One of those. I wouldn’t have found myself or I wouldn’t have found literature. Why? I got into this class and we were reading short stories. I didn’t even know you could write. I knew about ‘El Quixote’ but those are novels. I didn’t know you could actually have so much power in 2 pages, 3 pages or 7 pages. I didn’t know you could put so much power. So I began reading. I even have the anthology right there: La pluma magica. Cortaza, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Elena Poniatowska. And it blew my mind. It blew my mind off. I remember that while taking the class, I would write the essays and my Accounting teacher, who was Colombian, would help me with the accents. [laughs] And the grammar! And then, after reading a couple of stories, I said ‘Let me try this.’ I got that urge and I wrote a story. [hand in palm] It was such a bad story. It was called ‘Hastío.’ It was because I liked this old song called ‘Hastío.’ And the lady at the end, she’s listening to this song and she kills herself. Its so dramatic. But I showed it to my teacher. To my professor. And she said, ‘I see something here. You should keep writing.’ Oh my god, why did she say that? Oh my god. I haven’t stopped.

J: You kept writing.

K: I haven’t stopped. So, I graduated my Associate’s, that was probably like the last semester or one of the last semesters at LaGuardia. And when I continued the Bachelor’s I changed to learn Spanish. Because I said, now I need to learn the grammar. [laughs] Now I need to be more serious. So, that’s how I found it. To be precise, I read this story from Julio Cortaza “Cambio de luzes/Change of lights” and it did change my life, its not a metaphor, its not. I read that. It was so well written. It transformed my way of thinking and it gave me the passion that I still have. So, I began wiritng and that’s its. And that Professor is still my mentor and we keep in contact and we love each other. At least I love her.

J: You said that you don’t consider yourself a romantic writer. So where do you draw inspiration from?

K: Everywhere. Anything. From insomnia. From a hole. I actually have a story called, ‘El hoyo.” [laughs] We were driving and it was raining. It was raining tons here a couple of months ago. And a few days after, I don’t know if you noticed, but the streets had little holes or se calleron algunas calles.

J: potholes?

K: Yeah, exactly! We were going to Downtown Lebanon.. Is it a downtown Lebanon? There is no downtown Lebanon… To the green. There was this big hole. I couldn’t believe it. It was just so big [laughs] And I wrote a story about the hole. Anything is an inspiration. If the hole is an inspiration, anything is an inspiration.

J/K: [laughs]

K: No, seriously. My stories go from.. I take things from everywhere. I teach a workshop where I talk about my process, my writing process, and one of the things that I say is precisely that: that I have short stories from anything. A title comes to my mind, a beautiful title and I write from there. Or, somebody says something or tells a story and I say ‘Ok, im gonna steal this. I’m gonna write it.’ Even if I only take a couple of things and the story evolves. What else? Memory. Soemthing that happened to me many, many years ago and then I’m like ‘Hmm, really.’ One thing that I don’t do is: I don’t plan. So things just happen, they come. A lot of time, they’re like ‘You’re a writer, you should write about that.’ And I go, ‘It doesn’t work like that.’

J/K: [Laughs]

K: Nope! It could be the most amazing story.. With.. with.. Fuegos artificiales [imitates firework sounds] Nope, if it doesn’t come. It doesn’t come.

J: You’re partner also happens to be a writer. How is that relationship like?

K: Baaaaaaddd. It began really well, but it has gotten really bad. [laughs] We have different styles but we support each other a lot. We respect each other a lot. Which is great. But, we argue so much when it comes to writing. Because we both, as authors, we have this pride and narcicismo.. We’re very narcissistic and if I say ‘Its this. This is how I want it’ and he’s like ‘But it makes no sense.’ I’m like, ‘I don’t care. That’s how I like it’ [laughs] its.. I’m blessed to be with somebody that understands what I do. Its something that you cannot compare. Only if you have lived both sides: like somebody who doesn’t know how to write and somebody who loves what you love. It’s amazing and I’m very blessed in that sense. So yeah, we battle. That’s fine.

J: What’s it like when you guys do conferences? So I googled you and found your websites and interviews.

K: Well lately, we’ve been everywhere together. And I ask him, ‘Do you mind that they want us to do it together or do you want to do it by yourself?’ I really do not want people to see us as a couple when it comes to writing. I want to have my independence and I want him to be independent. But its also convenient. Like, if we go to the Dominican Republic and present my book and he has a book, ‘Okay lets do it together.’ Its convenient together. Evn if the books, like when I read and he reads. Its like, ‘what?!’ Which is good. Its good. Because that shows that were individuals. But what was the question? Sorry, I forgot

J: What’s it like?

K: we, again, we respect each other. And in public, we respect each other even more.[ laughs] Even if we don’t agree. Its always fun. It makes me.. always.. it makes me so so proud to be next to him. Because the guy is so freaking talented. And handsome. It’s a privilege to be able to share my life with somebody that knows and loves what I do, repects what I do, and enjoys my successes the way I enjoy his.

J: Along those lines, how did you guys end up in Lebanon, NH?

K: Magic [laughs] When people ask that question, usually it take him 45 minutes to an hour to answer the question [imitates Keysi]: ‘I was working in NYU, I wanted to leave and then I found this job. Didn’t even know where Dartmouth was’ [laughs]

J: I didn’t know where it was either, until I decided I was going to go there.

K: So, he tells the story. Then he got hired, blah blah blah. People ask me, ‘How did you get together?’ I met him. And that was it. Bye, bye, everything. Bye, bye, Life. Yes. We have… He lived in New York and I lived there, but we never met. And then, Facebook came along. Oh, Facebook. And we noticed. He noticed. He was the one who asked me to be friends.

J: He pursued you?

K: Of course. And we a had like 80 friends in common. We became friends in, I don’t know, January. And then, he invited a group of us to come to visit him, spend a weekend with him. And well, even though, I didn’t know him personally, I wanted to leave New York and go somewhere. No, we planned a couple of friends, planned to come. And then we came. All writers. We drove here. We drank a lot of alcohol that night and we were reading. You know, poetry and things like that. We have the video..[laughs and imitates slurring and clapping] Yeah. That’s how it went. That’s how we met. We kept in contact. He was involved in a relationship and I was also a little nuts… That was May and then in August, we saw each other again and that was it. He had me traveling from New York almost every weekend. And then Mia came along. We got pregnant. And it was easier for me to come here than for him to go. He already had the house, the job. It was very stable. And I was working on my PhD and was working part time. I had a tiny, little apartment and this place is no doubt, the best place where I can raise my daughter. So, we decided.. it wasn’t even a decision, it was obvious, that this was the best place to raise a family.

J: How long have you two been together?

K: Three years. Yeah. Three years.

J: Ah, your daughter! She’s so cute.

K: Ayy, Ayy.

J: How has being a mother changed you?

K: I always criticized the women that when they became mothers, they stopped being women. In what sense do I say that? I say that because I see that their world becomes the baby. No hair doing..

J: Se dejan ir [They let themselves go.]

K: Se dejan.. But no besides, not only the physical. That’s just a joke. They don’t do anything else. They stop living. They stop doing the things they liked to do. So, having my baby and falling in love with her, the way I am in love with her. Of course you don’t want to do anything else. You just want to be with that thing. And kiss her, and bite her, and eat her. But, I realized that I have to continue being a woman. And what does that mean? I have to continue cleaning the house [laughs] No. I have to pursue my passions. She is my love and she’s first, but I also like to write, and I also like to publish, and like to do conferences. I like to learn. And soon after I gave birth that was one of the first things I began doing. In order for me to have some ‘me’ time, I looked at the Dartmouth website. I looked everywhere where they were offering free things. Free workshops. So I would go to Dartmouth, to the art program and I did book binding one night out of the week. It doesn’t matter if its once every 5 months, but you go out and you do something else. I did a couple of those. I did playing with clay. And I did mosaics, smashing things. And I’m telling you this because it helped a lot. It helped me even to love her more. When I am happy with myself, when I feel pride that I achieved any kind of success in my day, I have more to offer. I stayed home for 2 years. I wanted to stay home for 2 years. It was very hard but those were precious moments that I just wanted to be there for her. And I’m still with her because even though I began working, I’m only working part time in order to continue spending time with her. Because I know, we know, that she’s the priority. But I also enjoy doing the things that I have passion for, besides my daughter.

J: Are you teaching?

K: Yes.

J: Where are you teaching?

K: I am teaching at Crossroads Academy in Lyme. And I took the job because the schedule was phenomenal. Its only 3 days a week and 2 of those 3 days, Mia goes to a little school: TMO. So she has time for herself and I teach, and then we come home and we do the things we do.

J/K: [laughs]

K: Which is great. It was a good opportunity. It was challenging because it’s the first time that I teach middle school, but its only 3 days, so I couldn’t say no.

J: What are you teaching?

K: Spanish.

J: Do you enjoy teaching?

K: I love teaching. Oh, wow. I was born to teach [laughs] I don’t know what, but I was born to teach. [laughs] I just like it. I always thought.. I always knew I was going to be a teacher. But first I thought I was going to be a Math teacher. I loved Math, before I began writing and reading. So yes, I studied Spanish and I did my Master’s in Spanish. But while doing my Master’s, I was also working on getting my teaching license for high school. Not because I wanted to teach in high school necessarily but that was the closest tot teaching in college. But I was, again, lucky that as soon as I finished my Master’s I began teaching actually, at the same college that I was studying at. I did that for 2 years, I was an Adjunct Professor at City College of New York. That was my last job there and then I moved here.

J: Would you like to go back to teaching in college?

K: Yes, oh yeah. Even if its part time. The difference with what I’m doing now, is that now its just teaching grammar. It doesn’t matter how creative you get, it will still only be grammar. In college you have the opportunity, depending on the class that you’re teaching, to explore the brain. To go beyond. To have a complex discussion. Its very challenging and I like that. I like to be challenged and I like to challenge the students. And I love Literature. I love to teach. I love to.. I was again.. Here comes the lucky. He’s going to hate, Keysi is going to hate this interview because he’s like ‘There’s no luck.’

J: [laughs]

K: Well.. I was lucky that the class that I was teaching, it was a phenomenal class. It was a class for students that already knew Spanish. It was called Spanish for Heritage Students. It was called Natives before but then it was changed to Heritage. So, yes, it was grammar but it was also literature, music, art, movies, theatre. You know you can do so  many things.

J: So, cultural studies?

K: I included the culture. I tried to include the culture. Teaching a language has tons to do with the culture, so its always culture.

J: I remember my Spanish classes. Fun times, fun times.

K: I’ve seen that you’re often referred to as a writer of the Dominican Diaspora. Do you identify as such?

J: I am a writer, who happens to be Dominican, who happens to live here [U.S.] And because of that I am called a writer from the Diaspora. It is very controversial. The word.. people have different connotations. I don’t mind being called that because that’s what I am. I am living here and I am a writer and I am not from the United States. I am from the Dominican Republic. Therefore, I am living in a Diaspora. Okay, that is clear. But, labeling, it doesn’t matter. You know. I write and I am a woman and I am Dominican and I live here. I don’t care if I am just Kianny. I don’t care. And why don’t I care? Because for some people that might be acceptable, but for some it might not be. When you say ‘Diaspora’ it kind of builds a barrier right away, even if its invisible, with the writers that live there. And even with the readers that live there. ‘Oh, she’s from there!’ ‘No, I’m not! I’m still from there!’ [referring to D.R.] [laughs] I think, ad I have said things, they think that we have it easier here and no we don’t. We have to deal with a lot of different things. We have to deal with things with which we already dealt with because we lived there. And now we have to encounter other issues: the language, the everything. Some things are easier, yes. There is electricity here, yes. There is agua potable, yes. You get paid for the things you do. Transportation is easier. But, being a writer outside of the Dominican Republic hasn’t been necessarily easy. People don’t publish you here because you’re from there or because you write in Spanish. And then there, they don’t take you into consideration because you’re from here. It sucks… Yeah, it does.

J: Have you noticed differences between how your work is received here and back on the island?

K: Hmm.. Yeah. The only thing is that.. como dicen ‘Nadie es profeta en su tierra/ No one is a prophet in their own land.’ But at this point, I don’t know which is my land. Or they don’t know what is my land. Usually what people, the critics, they want to see in my writing or in anyone who lives on this side, they want to see the struggle as a ‘transterrada,’ that’s the word that Keysi uses. And then people there expect me to write in a way.. But I don’t do either or. I don’t write.. I don’t think I do. I don’t know if somebody will find it out. I just write. It’s really difficult for me to explain it. Maybe I should write it? It will be easier if I write it. I don’t know.. Its not in me to say how people perceive me or how they see me as a writer, I don’t know. Its really difficult to see me how other people see me. To see through the eyes of others. Yes. I don’t know.

J: I know some people are.. Depending on how comfortable people are with their writing. I think its interesting to see how others feel about it.

K: Well, there is a huge controversy right now about Junot Diaz, for example, or Julia Alvarez. But I am not, for many reasons, I am not in that category [laughs] So I don’t know where I linger. One, because they write in English. Two, because they are very famous. There is a lot of talking about whether or not, they don’t think as Dominicans. And all I think is, what is it? What do you have to have in your brain? What is it that Dominicans think about? What is it that Dominicans write about? Even if I write about muralla china or if I write in Russian, I am still Dominican. That is why I bring that to this question or this conversation, because, again.. I don’t know what its like to write as a woman in the Diaspora, as a writer in the Diaspora. I just write. I know that it will come up. You know. The train will come up. The working over time will come up. But its not that I am writing.. I am not writing like that because I am living here. It just happens. That says it all. And I don’t know how people see me. Definitely not like Junot [laughs]

Next Section: Interview II Transcript